Online Program

Helping youth live healthy lives with character: Assessing the effectiveness of a multifaceted program designed for the prevention of childhood obesity in Charlotte, North Carolina

Monday, November 2, 2015

Megan Clarke, M.H.S., Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Reginald McAfee, M.B.A., Cross-Country for Youth, Charlotte, NC
Alvin Jefferson, Cross-Country for Youth, Charlotte, NC
Fannie Fonseca-Becker, PhD, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Background: Programs designed to improve dietary and physical activity behaviors are important for childhood obesity prevention, particularly in states such as North Carolina where nearly one in three children is overweight or obese.  Cross-Country for Youth (CCFY) is a multifaceted program that combines cross-country training with nutrition and character education for the prevention of obesity among children aged 8-12 years.  In 2013, a community/academic partnership was developed between CCFY and the Johns Hopkins University, with funding from the Johnson & Johnson Community Healthcare Program, to add a nutrition education component to CCFY and enhance their capacity for program monitoring and evaluation.

Methods: CCFY and their academic partners created a conceptual framework that informed program goals, objectives, and indicators. The program was pilot tested during a formative phase within a small group of children. During this phase, assessment tools and a database were developed using EpiInfo 7.  The pilot program was followed by a 20-month implementation phase during which the program was expanded to include more children using revised educational materials and data collection tools. 

Results: A total of 81 children (51.9% male, 48.1% female) participated in the implementation phase. At baseline, 20.4% and 27.5% of children were overweight and obese, respectively and only 55% of the children had ever participated in a cross-country race. We expect follow-up data to show improvments in nutrition and physical activity knowledge and behaviors and nearly 100% cross-country race participation.

Conclusions: Academic partnerships can improve in-house capacity for program monitoring and evaluation and help build long-term sustainability.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the effectiveness of a childhood obesity prevention program among children in North Carolina. Demonstrate the benefits of community-based organizations developing in-house monitoring and evaluation methods including a conceptual framework, data management, and analytical tools Discuss any advantages/challenges in academic community-based partnerships

Keyword(s): Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have no conflict of interest.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.